Flight Plan

Sailplane pilots challenge gravity, finding the air's natural currents as they discover the world of silent flight.
Reprinted from PN August 2000

Even though I was only 5 years old, I knew I was going to fly someday.

View Forum | Print Article | Font Size + / - | Back
For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the sky. My mom says that ever since I saw one of the Apollo moon launches, I've been looking up.

Just after I turned 20, I dove into the shallow end of a friend?s swimming pool and broke my neck; this left me functioning as a C6-7 quadriplegic. During one of the many "life on the outside" presentations at the rehab center, a pilot from Freedom's Wings International showed a video on sailplane flying for people with disabilities.

I put off flying for the next six summers until I finally contacted Ray Temchus, Freedom's Wings International president. After my first flight, I was hooked. Besides believing I could learn to control this aircraft just as successfully as any able-bodied person could, I had finally found something that didn't require my using a wheelchair.

Soon after I began flight training with Freedom's Wings, I found I wanted a career in aviation more than ever. While learning to fly the Grob, I wished I could earn a living doing something I loved so much, but the accessibility factor kept me believing this was impossible.

I plan to continue flying with Freedom's Wings and teaching aeronautics and flight instruction. Sometimes I wonder why it took such a debilitating injury to give me the push I needed to find my path in life.

Whether or not I'm in a wheelchair, my destiny remains the same: flying high in the skies above.

Freedom's Wings International, Inc., is a nonprofit organization run by and for people with physical disabilities. FWI provides the opportunity to fly in hand-control-equipped sailplanes either as a passenger or member of the flight-training program.

Contact: Freedom's Wings International, Inc., 1832 Lake Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076. (908) 232-6354 /


To read more about this, order the August 2000 PN, Click Here.
To Subscribe, Click Here.

Article Forum

PN Forum discussions are intended to provide a place for free-flowing exchange of information, opinions, and comments and are designed to provide an enjoyable and informative expression for all participants.
Please review our Forum Rules for complete details.

Login with username and password (Forgot Password?)
New Post

Flight Plan


Be the first to comment on this article.
(Register or login to add comments.)